Although the promise of developing a toned and fit body with minimal time and effort is enticing, perform due diligence before investing too heavily in miracle devices. Electronic abdominal belts promise weight loss and increased muscle tone without measurable effort, but these products largely fail to deliver on their promises.
Electronic abdominal belts work through electronic stimulation of muscle groups. By "zapping" the target muscle group with a low-level charge of electricity, electronic abdominal belts cause an involuntary muscular contraction which purportedly provides a level of stimulation akin to performing traditional training methods.
Claim to Fame
The manufactures of several of these products, including the companies that produced "AbTronic" and "The Flex Belt" claim that by using these belts, you can achieve a "six-pack" look with a minimum of time or effort. Some of the advertising promises that the products guarantee a loss of four inches off the waist within 30 days, or that 10 minutes of electronic abdominal belt training is the same as performing 600 situps.
In 2002, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission charged the aforementioned companies with marketing deceptive and misleading claims. Additionally, the FTC said that the companies were failing to honor their money-back guarantee. Specifically, the FTC challenged the claims that electronic ab belts would cause weight loss, lead to "six-pack" abs or that use of the device somehow equates to performing traditional abdominal training exercises. In 2003, this issue was settled with more than $80 million paid in redress.
The makers of these belts also fail to properly disclose the potential risks inherent in electronic muscular stimulation. Some people should not be use electronic abdominal belts. These include those with a implanted devices such as a pacemaker, cancerous lesions, inflamed or swollen areas or pregnant women. Additionally, makers of these devices occasionally warrant that they are safe to use across the chest, which is patently untrue according to the FTC. Such use can interfere with normal functions of the heart.
On balance, there is nothing worthwhile about using electronic ab stimulation to get into shape. Unfortunately, there is no real shortcut to attaining a lean and healthy physique. The only real solution is a rigorous plan of diet and exercise, combined with many years of consistency in the gym and the kitchen. Knowing this, save the money you were going to spend on an electronic abdominal belt and put it toward a gym membership instead.
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